ATLANTA (Maalwi NewsNow) – Southern African Community USA (SACU) held its third annual Southern African Reunion last weekend August 28th – 29th, 2015. The events featured a Fashion Show and an After Party on Friday and a Family Braai/Picnic which included a soccer tournament on Saturday.
Participants came from 15 Southern African countries (Angola, Botswana, Congo, Malawi, Mozambique, Madagascar, Lesotho, Namibia, Mauritius, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Seychelles, Zambia and Zimbabwe) and Friends of Southern Africa.
Days leading to the events, VOA’s Vincent Makori talked to Sitinga Kachipande from Malawi, one of the Southern Africa event organizers, about the reunion.
According to Sitinga Kachipande co-founder and director of SACU, the group started in 2013 as a few people got together to start a formal way of people getting together from the Southern African region who share a lot of traditions, borders in common. Sitinga said they have encouraged younger people from colleges to participate as well so that they can learn a lot from their Motherland.
“This year’s theme, together as one was selected in light of the xenophobic attacks in southern Africa as well as the racial tensions occurring in the United States – It is truly an event that embraced the pan-African ideas of a united Africa and a united Diaspora,” said Sitinga
The aim is to promote Southern Africa Heritage and culture. They have stayed away from political involvement matters which can easily bring acrimony to the group.
In the absence of Ambassador Necton D. Mhura who was away in Gabon attending the AGOA Forum, the Embassy of Malawi and Malawians in the Washington DC area were represented by the Deputy Ambassador Ms. Jane Nankwenya who donned on attire fitting to the occasion.
By all measurements the events were a success. The Fashion show infused some Southern African style in it. With Models dancing on the Platform to African Music. Models wearing fancy clothing in country colors.
Vitu Ngwira was a part of the featured designers. Her accessory line features bold colors that are common in Malawian design. Ngwira is a self taught designer who’s jewellery line is making waves in the Malawian Diaspora.
BIO: Vitu Ngwira was born and raised in Malawi. She relocated to the U.S. eight years ago and now resides in Maryland where she spends most of her time creating jewelry. She is a self-taught designer who was inspired to start designing accessories due to her love for vintage, classic and ethnic accessories. She believes that the right accessories portrays one’s individuality and style.
Therefore, her accessories are can be used to dress up an outfit for that special occasion, or dress down an outfit, for a more casual chic look. Whatever the occasion, her accessories are designed to make a statement.
Ngwira’s line consists of jewelry that is high quality since each accessory is carefully handcrafted. She is proud to express her love for both jewelry and African aesthetics through her vibrantly designed accessories for women.
Patricia Msaka-Kankondo is the chairperson of SACU’s fashion show committee and was one of the fashion show coordinators. She worked alongside together with Zambian Inga Kim and South African Margaret Perakis and the rest of the SACU board to put the program together.
One of the entertainers was from Malawi, Mpahsto Matenda, she currently works in the development field but has long written inspirational poetry that speaks to the experiences of the Diaspora, including poetry that she was selected to recite poetry last year when Malawi’s First Lady, Gertrude Mutharika met with the Malawi Washington Association, Malawi Washington Foundation and the Malawi community.
Lorna Shingenge sharing on the groups Facebook page wrote “The picnic/braai was beyond nice! We had so much fun with my adopted family friends in the USA!”.
Betty Phiri Chibwe writing on the same page wrote “VuVu Stone Collection & team have had a wonderful time in your town. Thank you for your great hospitality. The fashion show was super & the braii – (BBQ) was out of this world. We’ve expanded our networks & made great connections. We are super grateful!! Let’s do this again”.
Malawians Win Soccer 3 times in a Row
The soccer team, Malawi Football Club represented Malawi in the tournament. This marks the third year that Malawi has won the SACU trophy. They played against Angola, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and a combined South African and Namibian team.
They enjoyed the support of Malawian fans at the event, including MWA representatives Patricia Msaka- Kankondo and Sitinga Kachipande who attended the event. Team sponsor, Felix Linderie of Lindeire and Associates was there to support the team. The team captain is Charles Mankhusu and he received the trophy on behalf of the Malawian team.
Mimmy Polan and Chris Rudeboy Mbochwa said Botswana was not able to form a soccer team in time for SACU tournament this time, they however promised to enjoy the other events and had encouraged others from there country to attend.